Battelle Donates $1 million to Advance STEM Education in The Mid-Columbia

Battelle Donates $1 Million to Advance STEM Education in the Mid-Columbia  

RICHLAND, Wash. (July 15, 2020)—Battelle President and CEO Lou Von Thaer announced today that Battelle is donating $1 million to the Washington State STEM Education Foundation to advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the Tri-Cities. The news was shared during virtual visit by Von Thaer to  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as part of the celebration of Battelle’s 90th Anniversary.

Battelle manages and operates PNNL for the U.S Department of Energy.

Specifically, the gift will help launch a regional “STEM Nexus” that will develop and fund experiential learning programs for underrepresented and underserved students in rural communities.

The Nexus is intended to provide transformative, immersive STEM learning experiences. Its formation has required strong community collaboration among employers, educators and community leaders who will continue to work together during full operations.

“It’s part of Battelle’s mission to help develop the next generation of scientists,” Von Thaer said. “We are proud of our long-standing presence in Richland and the Tri-City area, and even more proud of the global impact that we have on the health and safety of the world. We hope this gift contributes to future, fantastic scientific advances.”

During its run of managing PNNL and its community support in the Tri-Cities, Battelle has made more than $28 million in philanthropic investments; logged more than 335,000 in staff volunteer hours and supported 125 community organizations.

Those investments include a $1.5 million contribution to create Delta High School, the Tri-Cities first STEM school, and more than $2 million to fund the REACH Museum. Battelle also helped found the Washington State STEM Education Foundation.  

“Our nation faces a continuing challenge to interest our youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers that are critical to our future,” said Steven Ashby, Battelle Senior Vice President and PNNL Director. “For decades, Battelle and PNNL have provided financial support, community leadership and mentors for STEM education efforts that have had an enduring impact. This gift will continue this tradition by focusing on the development and expansion of transformative STEM education experiences in the region, especially for historically underrepresented and underserved populations.”

 About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle makes the world better by commercializing technology, giving back to our communities, and supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. For more information, visit


Jul 15, 2020


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